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Carving out a new era with a proud tradition
The captain and vice-captain of the Waseda University Cheerleading Club that changed 74 years of club history

Yuta Nikuma
Miki Kogure

On November 4 (Tue), 2014, Kogure wept in spite of herself after the final fall Waseda-Keio Baseball Game of the TOKYO BIG 6 BASEBALL LEAGUE. “I was relieved that I had made it through four years standing on this stage where I had always wanted to be.” Seeing her reaction, a surge of emotion also hit Nikuma. “Although everything was so hard when I joined the club, the time passed so quickly that I miss it as I look back.”

They both graduated from Honjo Senior High School and went on to Waseda University. Nikuma, who was a percussionist in the brass band at the high school, joined the brass band of the Cheerleading Club that he longed to join. Meanwhile, Kogure, who was a cheerleader in high school, was going to join the cheerleaders of the Cheerleading Club. But, she was attracted to the “leaders” as they are called enlivening the game with their imposing voices in front of the crowd while she watched the Waseda-Keio Games in the spring she entered Waseda University, and decided to join as a leader. In this way, she became the first female leader since the Cheerleading Club was founded in 1940.

However, the activities of the Cheerleading Club are very tough. Whenever they receive a request from a sports club, they go to the game and continue cheerleading without showing a tired look on their face even under a blazing sun. The club sometimes goes to several games one after another in a single day. Before Kogure knew it, the leaders who joined the club at the same time as her quit the club, leaving her alone. “The club was so hard and exhausting, I thought many times that I should just quit. But the senior leaders always stood by me and when I remembered how the spectators cheered along with us at every game, I was encouraged to remain in the club.”

Photo: wasedasports.com
Waseda crushed Keio in the final game of the fall Waseda-Keio Baseball Games. After the game, stands full of spectators heartily sang the Glory of Waseda under the direction of the Waseda University Cheerleading Club.

Nikuma, who had been closely observing the activities of the leaders as a member of the brass band, was moved by Kogure’s struggle, which lead him to make a decision. “Junior leaders are supposed to carry equipment and have to give guidance to younger students when they join the club. When I saw Kogure do all the work by herself, I wanted to help her.” In the spring of his third year, Nikuma persuaded his seniors to let him switch from the brass band to become a leader. This was also a first in the long history of the Cheerleading Club. “I didn’t want my performance to be poorer than junior members who had more experience, so I practiced harder than anyone else. I was always thinking about what I could do to be a model senior.” For Nikuma, who was majoring in architecture in the School of Creative Science and Engineering, balancing club activities and school work was not easy. He sometimes had to do his plan drawing homework at the training camp and make building models in the clubroom.

After overcoming numerous hardships for four years, Nikuma became the captain, and Kogure assumed the posts of vice-captain and chairman of the Rokudai Ouen Federation. They fulfilled their roles and the time has come for them to pass on the 74 years of tradition to their juniors.

“Waseda definitely has tradition to be passed on from generation to generation, but I think revolution is also part of what Waseda stands for. It was because of Waseda’s atmosphere of accepting changes that I was able to join the club even though I am female. All I can do now is be thankful.” (Kogure) “As the lyrics in the Alma Mater go, Her students change from year to year, Meet and part with youth’s delight, Yet all alike we seek to share, These ideals and their light.

Whenever I go to a game, I always feel love for Waseda from Wasedians. I was always involved in my school activities as I wanted to deliver that passion to players and students. I will always cherish what I have learned at Waseda University.” (Nikuma)

Nikuma’s cheerleading includes improvisation tailored to the mood of the stands and developments in the game.

Kogure helps spectators have fun by adding a twist to her costume.

Cheerleading relies on physical strength. They increase their stamina by running hard in the snow during the training camp.

(Offered By:WASEDA WEEKLY)

Yuta Nikuma
Fourth Year, School of Creative Science and Engineering

Originally from Tokyo, Yuta Nikuma graduated from Waseda University Honjo Senior High School. He formed a band in high school, covering the songs of L'Arc-en-Ciel and ONE OK ROCK. He is good at playing the drums and guitar.

Miki Kogure
Fourth Year, School of Law

Originally from Gunma Prefecture, Miki Kogure graduated from Waseda University Honjo Senior High School. Her hobby is reading, and she especially likes new books on European history. Lately, she has been hooked on the histories of ancient Rome and Egypt.